Men’s Eye Health: No Point Toughing It Out

12 JUL 2021

Eye health

Men tend to adopt a “she’ll be right” attitude when It comes to their eye health, says Optometry Australia’s Chief Clinical Officer, Luke Arundel.

“They soldier on or tough it out when it comes to their health in general and their eye health is no different.”

According to the latest Medicare Report on the use of optometry services by age from 2013 to 2020, men are increasing less likely to attend to their eye health than women.

Last year 42.27% of men used an optometry service compared to 57.73% of women, a figure which has been dropping each year for the past ten.

It is a significant stat which highlights that men are continuing to neglect the health of their eyes to the detriment of their overall wellbeing.

Today, with more knowledge and awareness at our fingertips, men are still baulking at seeing doctors, following through on their appointments, and blaming work or their busy schedule for not looking after their eye health.

Men’s health advocates agree that men and their families need to have meaningful discussions about the factors that keep them healthy in body and mind.

A man’s eye health, in particular, his ageing eye, is an important part of that conversation.

Prevent Vision Loss

As men grow older, they need to be more diligent and take greater care of their eye health to avoid vision loss from preventable eye conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

“Vision loss prevents healthy and independent ageing,” says Luke Arundel.

“When you consider that 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable, having regular eye examinations by your optometrist should be part of everyone’s commitment to living their best life.

“It is simple, easy and painless to get an eye test, one that will help preserve good vision for life.”

Vision loss impacts our overall health, placing a person at a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety.

If a person’s vision is not managed correctly by having regular eye examinations, it can also negatively impact their sense of self-worth and social connectedness, particularly if they lose their driver’s license.

Eye Safety

Eye safety and eye injury are significant areas for men to be more mindful of.

Men who work in trades and as labourers are less willing to wear safety glasses or protective eyewear when working, and yet they are at the greatest risk of a foreign object damaging their eyesight.

In fact, men accounted for 83% of cases in which optometrists had to remove a foreign body embedded in the eye. And it is not just at work that men need to wear safety glasses to protect their eyes from flying shards of metal or timber, consider too work done in the backyard or garage.

It is important that men (of any age) to wear safety eyewear when gardening, doing home handyman work, mowing, basically anything where a small particle, flying object, or piece of dust could fly into the eye.

UV Protection for Eyes

Men’s eyes need to be protected when outside.

Sun protection is a message we constantly hear, however, even though men know the risk of sun exposure in Australia, 31 per cent do not own UV protective sunglasses and 32 per cent believe sunglasses are unnecessary.

Living in Australia it is critical for all of us to understand the consequences of sun damage to the eye.

Prolonged exposure to direct UV light from the sun and reflective light can significantly damage the eyes and can result in serious eye conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygium or photokeratitis.

When outside – in summer and winter (in fact all year round) – your eyes should be protected from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

Clouds will not protect your eyes from these harmful rays, nor will shade as your eyes can be damaged by indirect light, from the side or reflected off those bright surfaces you find yourself squinting at, or looking away from, such as the footpath, snow, sand, or water.

Encourage all men in your life to book a regular eye examination with their local Eyecare Plus optometrist. It is the easiest way to combat preventable vision loss which could impact a man’s overall sense of wellbeing.

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